Jennifer Lopez: All I Have at the Axis at Planet Hollywood, Friday, February 17th, 2017
A Las Vegas show is not unlike a bondage and domination hooker, once it’s exotic but twice it doesn’t get you off anymore. Jennifer Lopez’s “All I Have” show at the Axis is neither better nor worse than Britney Spears, with whom she shares a theatre. Yeah, Brit has a better catalog and yeah, for better or worse and more or less, J Lo is as manufactured as a pop star can be and, if only for Blackout, Britney isn’t. But Brit is pop EDM and J Lo is funk and Latin America flava pop and roll salsa. The latter just sounds better. They both left their twenties behind long ago and J Lo has entered her forties. So, add it all together and they are just about equals. But I preferred Britney who I caught in October and it is easy to see why. I was wowed by the production and while, again, Lopez production is also a beauty (indeed, Brit rode a giant electric guitar during one section, J Lo rides a giant moon), there is only so many times you can get chained to a wall and whipped with a cat-o-nine tails before you wonder what else there might be out there.
The concept for J Lo is all in the title, the many sides of the extremely popular actress and singers, except, not really. It is really about the musical side of Jennifer with a side of “Booty” (the name of one song and set piece and yes, you’re right, that’s what her and the female side of her dancers are tributing) and the Bronx (another set piece culminating with one of her top songs). Everything here is about as revealing as her one piece outfits -ie not at all, and as real as the video for the top song “Jenny From The Block” -which featured the actress driving around the hood on the backlot of a Hollywood sound stage. You don’t expect real life, right? Except in another set piece she lullabies her twins to Le Ann Rimes awful “I Hope You Dance” in an exploitative and somewhat stomach turning tribute to her children, replete with a picture of them on a huge screen at the end.
So, what is real and what is not? For J Lo, this is the reality of popstardom that jumps through arch ill disharmony to land as fair to middling Vegas showgirl T&A with a PG rating: it is something about nothing. Opening with a Disneyish flourish, J Lo appears as a wand bearing magician of her own life in a spectacular opening, followed by two big bang dancers anonymous hits, “If You Had My Love” and “Love Don’t Mean A Thing” and the problem is the show peaked early. No, Jennifer Lopez isn’t singing, she does occasionally on the slower numbers but she isn’t even pretending to. Too much movement. The band are real but bland except the beats are strong enough. “A Lot Of Living To Do” is a little out of place but it is OK, I mean it is Vegas.
Mom is in the audience and gets a call out as we move into the Bronx set, all six trains and Yankee insignia , and memories of the birth of hip hop. Nice to hear “Jenny From The Block” though the following sexy sequence, all sexless grinding and odes to her tush, loses me a little and the “I Hope You Dance” disaster is like a tomb closing on reality. I’m ready to walk but I’m glad I didn’t because a mini funk set follows and it is pretty good stuff, J Lo sells it hard and I’m willing to buy. A Celia Cruz cover adds to the feeling that maybe she could sell these songs if she played it straight. We are taken home with a dance segment, all the movement culminating again in a shrug.
It is all OK as Vegas show, iffy as art. Once a philosopher, twice a pervert goes the saying, my pervert side is satiated and then some.